Happy Hooky Birthday!

It's my birthday and I'm in the mood to celebrate with you!! All day I'm going to run promotions and contests for discounts to my shop and even free items. All day you can save 15% off* any item in my Raverly and Etsy shops with the code HappyHookyBirthday, BUT there will be plenty of chances to win free patterns, or $ towards a custom hat, so watch my Facebook and Twitter pages to play along! Feel free to give me presents too, haha! :)

HappyHookyBirthday for 15% off* right now
Watch for contests for free patterns & custom items!

Crochet Cake by One Sheepish Girl

Ice Cream Scoop Hair Clip by Twinkie Chan

*Only one coupon per customer.



Playin' Hooky with Zac Brown?

Hey there! You probably already know all the things my family has been through this summer. If not you can read my other posts about our baby girl, Bryn. This morning I was having an especially hard time. I miss her smile, her voice, and her sparkle more than I could ever possibly explain. All the emotions were getting very overwhelming and I felt like I was going in slow motion. But then someone on my Facebook page suggested that I send my beanie to the Zac Brown Band. They thought it'd be perfect and that maybe, just maybe he'd wear it on stage! And for some reason thinking about it gave me a purpose and a reason to smile.

So here I am, starting a full on campaign to see if I can get a response from the band. And here's what you can do to get in on it!

For the Tweeters (...Tweeps?... Twits?...): Check out my original Tweet. Reply to me and @ZacBrownBand telling them that you want to see Zac play some hooky!

For the Facebookers: Post on the band's wall OR comment on my post to let them know what you think!

To anyone from the band who sees this: Your fans love you and if it weren't for them, I wouldn't have even thought about sending a hat. So thanks for being awesome and no matter what happens, I'm now a fan for life!!

To all my fans who join the campaign. Thank you for all of your amazing support. You are one reason that I'm able to smile every day.

The beanie that started it all

And for your listening & viewing pleasure... Here's some Chicken Fried!



Bryn's Yarn Bomb

I've already posted about this on my FB page, but I'm trying to be a better blogger so here it is again

If you don't already know, my 5 year old daughter passed away (whoa that was hard to say) about three months ago. You can read more about it here. This summer I was driving past her preschool and had an idea for a way to keep her spirit alive using one of my favorite forms of expression: crochet of course. I wanted to yarn bomb her favorite piece of playground equipment.

The idea came to me so clearly that I could literally see it in my mind. It's a pretty small preschool and I know the teachers pretty well. They were also devastated by what happened to Bryn and I knew they would want to be involved with my project. So I went against normal YBing protocol and told them my plans. They were honored and got on board immediately. It took me about a month to finish it (I have a 4 month old that likes to occupy my arms). I even took it camping with us.

Finally it was ready. I added her name to the bottom and put it up the day before the first day of school. Since then, the teachers tell me that all the kids love the colors and ask who made it. It makes me smile to know that they can think about her while they play. Check out the pictures and the video of me putting it up, I hope it brightens your day.

A few months later, it's still stands tribute, even in the snow



The Giveaway is now open!

I reached 4,000 fans and the giveaway is now open! All you have to do is go to the entry page or use the widget to the right, click on "I'm a Fan" of Playin Hooky, then click "Do It" for every item you'd like to win! It will be open until I reach 5,000 fans!




5,000 Fans Giveaway!!

I'm so excited to be this close to 5,000 fans! To celebrate, I'll be hosting a massive giveaway on my Facebook page. The giveaway will open when I reach 4,000 fans and end when I get to 5,000! Pretty simple!

The spirit of the giveaway is cross-promotion to help bring small business pages to a wider fan base. It's a win-win!! If you're interested in being a sponsor, you have to be willing to promote the giveaway on your page. I'm currently gathering sponsors from ALL types of pages. You do not have to donate a crocheted item! I'll continue accepting sponsors until I reach 4,000 fans and the giveaway is open. Check out the Sponsors group if you're interested! https://www.facebook.com/groups/470319199652436/

If you're a fan and can't wait to enter, you can check out the giveaway album for a preview of what's to come! When the giveaway's open, all you have to do is like the page of the item you'd like to win!

Let me know if you have any questions and have fun!!



Colorado Fires

This has nothing to do with crocheting, but it's been weighing heavily on my mind lately. As most people know by now, Colorado (my home state) is having a record number of wildfires this year. They seem to be everywhere and keep getting worse.

The most destructive fire in Colorado history is burning west of Ft. Collins at over 87,000 acres with more than 250 homes destroyed. Let that sink in for a minute... As horrible as that fire is, the one that is always on my mind is called the Waldo Canyon fire on the west side of Colorado Springs. More than 32,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, including the Air Force Academy. The fires continues to burn and has reached over 15,000 acres. I literally saw this fire start. On Saturday my family and I were at a wedding around noon. The pictures below tell the story:

Left: We went into the reception around noon; Right: 3 hours later when we came out 
June 27th - RachelleGardner.com
June 27th - NowPublic.com

Horrific pictures aside, I have friends that live in Springs. The happy couple that was married on Saturday spent their wedding night in Manitou Springs (west of town). They were awoken at 1:00 in the morning and told to evacuate. Their house is now only 6 blocks from the evacuation line!

Red - fire, Purple - Manditory Evac, Yellow - Pre-Evac
There is also a fire burning about 70-80 miles from my house, east of Leadville, called the Treasure Fire. So far it's been pretty well contained and is only (only?!) 320 acres and we're not at risk. We also just got some RAIN and it looks to be moving towards Springs!!! At last look I think there are 11 fires burning all over the state. So we need all your prayers and good thoughts to help all the men and women fighting the fires, and all the people and property that's at risk!!


Our baby girl

These are all the words I can manage right now...

My beautiful 5 year old daughter, Bryn, suffered a massive asthma attack on Sunday morning. Her heart stopped on the way to the hospital. She was revived but her body was without oxygen for more than 30 minutes. She was flown to Denver Children's Hospital and did better than expected in the helicopter, but was in extreme critical condition when she arrived. She was met by family and friends before my husband and I could get there. For that, we are eternally grateful.

We experienced some highs, but more lows over the next 2 days. She fought harder than anyone thought she could, but her body gave out just before 6 pm yesterday, in our arms.
For those of you who know her, I don't have to tell you about her amazing spirit and heart. She had more personality and life than anyone I've ever met.  Words can't say how broken we are right now. If you pray, please pray for our family, and our two other children.

The only thing we ask is this. If you knew her, please take a minute to hand write any favorite memories or stories about our beautiful girl. We are collecting them to make a book for Tara and Declan to help remember their big sister. Write as many or few stories as you want, but please hand write them.  Contact me or a family member for my address if you need to mail it.

Thank you in advance for your sympathies, thoughts, and prayers.


Sierra Bryn McQueen
April 16, 2007 - May 21, 2012
We miss you baby girl


2,500 Facebook Fans Contest!

* The contest is now closed! *

I can't believe I have over 2,500 fans on Facebook! It's unbelievable! You have given me inspiration, encouragement, opinions, and much needed laughs! To celebrate, I'm having a quick contest for a chance to win some cool stuff.

All you have to do is leave a comment on my contest post with your guess for how big my baby belly is!

TWO winners will be chosen from the right, or closest, guess using Random.org. You'll win:

You only have two hours to make your guess so get going!!

(Comments left here DON'T count!! Make sure you go to my Facebook page to leave your guess!)



New Website!

A few months ago, I decided to split my blog and my web store into two different sites. My store has been up and running for a while, but because I've worked on it off and on, it was starting to get a little discombobulated and unorganized. I've been meaning to streamline all my patterns, hats, and discs, but it's been hard to make myself sit down at the computer for a few days on end. 

Well, I FINALLY did it! My "new" website is now better organized and full of all my custom listings and patterns. So check it out and let me know what you think!



$2 Headband Pattern Week!!

Happy Spring!!!

To celebrate the warmer weather, I wanted to do something Spring-y. I'm not really one to make Duck and Bunny hats for Easter so I had a hard time thinking of what I could. It finally came to me. I declared this week to be $2 Headband Pattern Week!! From April 9th to April 15th, you can get any of my headband patterns for only $2. You don't even need a coupon code.

Where to shop:
Reversible Houndstooth Headband

Ridgeline Headband

Waffle Headband

Method Headwrap

Twisted Headband



Craftsy Trends

YAAAAYYYY!!!! I can't believe it, but I'm on the top of the Craftsy Top 20 Free Crochet Patterns Leaderboard! My Brain Waves Beanie moved from 20th to 1st on the trending leader board in less than a week! I'm also the featured seller!! What a cool thing to happen during National Crochet Month!

If you don't already have the pattern, check it out. It comes with a photo tutorial and detailed instructions to make your own beanie for guys & girls.

Thank you!!



Crochet Techniques: COLORWORK

Candy Cane Hooks from Twinkie Chan
The other day I had a random crochet lightening bolt. Usually I get inspired with a new design or color scheme, but this time it was a little different. I had an idea to do a blog series on different crochet techniques that I've learned or taught myself along the way. If you're new to crocheting, hopefully this will help advance your skills and give you the confidence to try new patterns that you may have been shying away from. If you've been crocheting for a while, I'll have advanced tips to push you even farther!

Keep in mind this is how I do things. I've developed my techniques over 5 years, but not every crocheter or designer does things the same way. Since I mostly make hats, that's what I'm going to focus on. Some of the techniques will be a little different when crocheting a flat piece. Today it's all about COLOR! It's one of my favorite things! 

Changing Colors at the end of a Round:
The first thing you should master is how to change colors at the end of a round. There are a few different ways I do this, depending on the pattern. The main goal is to conceal your seam, so you don't have an ugly line running up the back of your hat. 
For a simple beanie (using any st: sc, hdc, dc...) like the one above and most of my patterns: 
With "old" color work last stitch to the last two loops on your hook. YO with new color & pull through. JOIN with new color.

Several of my patterns follow different rules though, but I always let you know if it's different. It's SO important to read the notes in any pattern. A good designer will let you know how to get the best results possible.

Jogless Stripes Tutorial:
Next up, I want to let you know about NeedleNoodle's tutorial on Jogless Crochet Stripes. It's basically my favorite tutorial out there. She uses her method to make amigurumi (those cute little crochet animals) but I've used it in my sc hats, and Playin' Hooky Discs. So go check it out!

Color Charts:
The next trick to master is crocheting patterns or pictures using a graph. Most crochet (and knit) graphs are laid out on a square grid, like graph paper, and crocheted with sc's. But if you've ever crocheted anything completely in sc's, you'll notice that the sts don't line up directly on top of each other. They slant! I had a lot of trouble with this when I was attempting to make a Canadian Maple Leaf Beanie. I started out with this grid and got something that looked more like a spaceship with lobster claws.
Then a crochet friend of mine, Benjamin Krudwig clued me into a little trick. Why not use a hexagonal grid to lay out your design? Such a simple idea, but it really changed the way I thought about tapestry crochet! Here's what happened:
It actually looked like a maple leaf! I Googled "Hexagonal grid", printed one out and played with the design until I was happy with it. It's also what I use for my Old School Beanie. This is the exact same pattern using a square grid (left) and a hexagonal grid (right):
Remember, when working any type of complex colorwork, finish the last st of your "old" color to the last two loops on your hook. Then YO with your new color and pull through to finish the st. Continue working with your new color until you need to change again!

That's all for this time. There's always more to learn though so feel free to leave your tips or ideas in the comments for everyone to see!

You can try these tricks out with pretty much any of my patterns, so check out my store and get inspired!!!



The hunt is ON!

Valentine's Day Challenge!!

While you're at work today, play a little hooky to go on a scavenger hunt! I've hidden 10 hearts (like the one to the left) in my Etsy Shop for you to find. Each heart is hidden as the last picture of a listing. So to find them, hunt through all my hats & patterns until you come across one and you'll get up to 10% off!

  1. Email me or send me a convo through Etsy with all the links to the listings you find
  2. Your discount amount depends on how many hearts you find: 1 heart = 1% off... 2 hearts = 2% off... 10 hearts = 10% off!
  3. DO NOT GIVE AWAY ANY LISTINGS AS A COMMENT ON MY BLOG. If you do, you will automatically be disqualified from any discount. Let's let everyone have fun!
  4. The hunt is on all day, so no rush!
  5. Your discount will be good all day tomorrow (Feb 15).
Let me know if you have any questions!



Phil saw his shadow!

YAY! Phil saw his shadow which means 6 more weeks of winter & beanie-wearing weather. it also means that you get 25% off any item in my Etsy & Ravelry store for the entire day!

Use the coupon code: GROUNDHOGDAY25 during your checkout!!



Groundhog Day!!!!

Tomorrow's groundhog day. While I don't really put my hopes in the hands of a small woodchuck named Phil, I thought it'd be fun to gamble a little on what the famous prognosticating rodent from Punxsutawney has to say. I know there's more than one forecasting groundhog, but I had to go with Phil... he knows Bill Murray.

So here's the gamble:

IF Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow (meaning we have 6 more weeks of winter & beanie-wearing weather!) I'll release a coupon code for 25% off anything in my Etsy or Ravelry shop good all day tomorrow! Stayed tuned to find out what's going to happen!



Who lives in a pineapple under the sea...?

SpongeBob SquarePants!

I've never actually seen an episode of SpongeBob (I know, shocking since I have kids!). I don't have a vendetta against him or anything, it's just never happened. But I knew I'd be spending some time with everyone's favorite Porifera when a friend told me that her amazing daughter wants a SpongeBob birthday party. How could I refuse?

My friend gave me ideas of what she liked and what she wanted me to include. It was great that she knew what she wanted - made the design process a lot easier! She wanted some hint of his pants, but pink instead of brown! How cool & different, I love it! I did a little research, lots of thinking, and decided on a general idea of how I wanted the hat & face to look. Nothing left to do but get started!

I set out to make the hat first (duh, haha). I didn't use a pattern per se, but I've made enough hats in my day to work it up pretty quickly. When I got to his shirt (the white stripe) I used a super secret crochet trick of mine (wink, wink) to make the lines especially clean. That's a whole 'nother blog post, haha. Then on to the pink earflaps. Of course it wouldn't be complete without some super chunky braids!

Now, onto the face. If you're familiar with my usual work, you know that I'm not a big embroiderer nor seamstress. The less I have to do after I finish the body of a hat, the better! So I was a little nervous when it came to getting started. The individual pieces weren't difficult to crochet, but putting them together so that it actually looks like SpongeBob was a little tricky. I'm really happy with the eyes & nose, but I still don't love the little crook in his smile. Oh well! I'm my hardest critic, and it's pretty hard to get embroidery to look straight on crochet!

I can't wait to see my friend's daughter's reaction when she opens this on her birthday! I really hope she loves it!!

My daughter, Bryn, wanted to model, so of course my son, Declan, had to get in on the action!

(PS - No, I will never make another one, haha!)



Release the Hounds (part 2)

WOW!! I can't believe the response I got from my recent release of my newest pattern, Reversible Houndstooth Beanie.

Let me back up a little... I'm getting together all my new designs to send to my photographer. The plan was to have a 2012 new Design Preview Sale to show you what I've been working on, before I get the final proofs back. I listed 15 copies of my Houndstooth Beanie on Monday, but before I could even finish posting about it on my Facebook page, ALL 15 copies had SOLD!! I had several posts about how upset some people were because they missed it that I decided to leave the pattern permanently. All in all, I sold WAY more than the 15 copies I thought I would sell. I was overwhelmed and excited by the response!! I literally couldn't believe it!

Even though I still don't have the professional photography finished, I will continue to have the pattern listed on Etsy, Ravelry, my website, and coming soon to my Craftsy page!